Promoting Gender Equality in the Mining Sector: Awareness Workshop in Mazar-e Sharif

Yesterday, 20 male and female staff of Balkh province’s Directorate of Mines and Petroleum (DoMP) and the state-owned enterprise Kod-e-Barq completed a three-day workshop on the role of gender in the mining sector. The activity aimed at promoting female participation in the extractive industry. The Afghan-German Cooperation’s programme for promoting good governance in the Afghan extractive sector financed and implemented the workshop together with the Afghan Ministry of Mines and Petroleum’s (MoMP’s) Gender Unit.

Currently, the number of female professionals in Afghanistan’s mining industry and relevant government institutions is deficient. In total, 44 staff work at Balkh’s DoMP – only seven of them are women. The workshop aimed at raising gender awareness among the staff to facilitate women’s employment at the department in the future. The head of the DoMP, Mr Habibullah Kohmand, emphasised: “Half of this country’s population are women. Their participation is a key element for Afghanistan’s development.”

Participants learned about the differences between gender and sex, gender equity and equality, as well as women’s status in the mining sector. They further discussed the advantages of a gender-balanced working environment and the role and responsibilities of the MoMP’s Gender Unit. One female participant, Ms Nazanin, commented: “We have to raise awareness among the community regarding the role of females in this important sector.”

Staff members shall use their newly acquired knowledge when hiring new staff for future planning. The participants also talked about promoting transparency in the sector in line with the Afghanistan Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (AEITI).

To raise gender awareness in the Afghan mining sector, the MoMP’s Gender Unit implements a wide range of activities. The unit also became part of the ministry’s recruitment committee to preclude discrimination against women. The Afghan-German Cooperation supports the Gender Unit in implementing capacity development activities and developing a gender policy that shall promote women’s employment in the Afghan mining sector.

The programme Promoting Good Governance in the Extractive Sector in Afghanistan is implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). To fully leverage the Afghan mining sector’s poten-tial, the programme aims at increasing state revenues, promoting investment and fighting corruption in the sector. The project trains stakeholders to ensure that mining activities are carried out transparently and according to law as well as international health and environmental standards. Among other activities, the project has organised 21 training courses on topics such as mine planning, mining economics and mining supervision for more than 310 mining inspectors and other employees at the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP) and provincial authorities since 2013. At the same time, the programme has financed 13 scholarships for Afghan women to promote female participation in the sector. The programme further supports the Afghan Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (AEITI) to promote transparency and fight corruption.

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